FanDuel Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Thursday 1/12/23

Since it's much simpler to predict than baseball or football, daily fantasy basketball would get plenty of votes as the best sport to play on FanDuel. Players usually stick to the same minutes and produce at roughly the same rate. Sounds easy, right?

As a result, NBA daily fantasy is highly reliant on a player's opportunity, so you'll need to ensure that you're up-to-date with key injuries. Our projections update up until tip-off to reflect current news, we have player news updates, and the FanDuel Scout app will send push notifications for pressing updates regarding your players.

With so much changing so quickly, we're here with plenty of tools to help you. We have daily projections, a matchup heat map, a lineup optimizer, and a bunch of other great resources to help give you an edge.

We'll also come at you with this primer daily, breaking down a few of the day's top plays at each position.

Let's break down today's main slate on FanDuel.

The Slate and Key Injuries

Away Home Game
Oklahoma CityPhiladelphia233111.5121.5322
DallasLA Lakers235.5119.3116.3302

I seem to write this at least once a year. Per today's injury report, the Brooklyn Nets will be without Kevin Durant (knee) tonight -- and for an extended period.

They're hosting Boston, and the Celtics will also be monitoring the statuses of Marcus Smart (knee) and Robert Williams (knee) on the second leg of their back-to-back. They're also likely to rest Al Horford.

Elsewhere, Damian Lillard is questionable for Portland with an ankle issue. The Cavaliers are in town to face the Blazers, and they are waiting on word about Jarrett Allen, who didn't finish the last game with an illness. Ricky Rubio (knee) is also in line to make his season debut for Cleveland.

The Miami Heat's injury bug continues to bite. They've already listed Tyler Herro (Achilles), Kyle Lowry (knee), Caleb Martin (quad), and Dewayne Dedmon (suspension) as out. They're hosting Milwaukee, who lost Grayson Allen to an ankle injury early last night. He's questionable -- at best. The Bucks haven't officially ruled out Khris Middleton (knee) for this one.

LeBron James (ankle) is probable for the Lakers, but we've all collectively learned that doesn't mean much. Patrick Beverley (hip/illness) is questionable for LA, and they're still down Lonnie Walker (knee) and Austin Reaves (hamstring). Dwight Powell (hip) is questionable for the visiting Mavericks.

Finally, Gordon Hayward (hamstring) is doubtful to play in Toronto for the Hornets. The Raptors are joined by the Thunder and 76ers as squads at largely full health entering tonight's slate.

**Editor's Note: Giannis Antetokounmpo was ruled out for the Bucks after publishing of this article. Check numberFire's projections for up-to-the-minute reactions and best plays in his absence.**


Luka Doncic ($12,400) feels like a daily fantasy cheat code.

Even with the strong Clippers defense in the way last time out, Doncic rallied with 20 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 43 overall in addition to 11 points and 7 rebounds. It's almost unfathomable he's eclipsed 57 FanDuel points in three of his past four games despite shooting just 41.5% from the field this month. What happens when he gets hot?

Behind Doncic, we've got to look at Kyrie Irving ($9,300) in this sans-Durant environment for Brooklyn. Kyrie, unsurprisingly, sees a team-best increase in usage rate of 6.6 percentage points (to 36.8%) with K.D. off the floor this year, resulting in a bump of 5.96 FanDuel points per 36 minutes.

Seth Curry ($5,000) should also see a boost in shot volume and could start. It'd be helpful if we got Marcus Smart ($5,700) back for Boston on the other side at a salary that is well below his median mark for the year, but Smart's missed two games, so a minutes restriction could be in play even if he returns.

Doing this every day as I do, sometimes you see salaries fall, the player succeeds at his new mark, and you see a lower salary the next day. That's gold, and it's the case for Jrue Holiday ($7,300), who feels like a bargain against the depleted Heat. With Lowry still out for that Miami squad, Victor Oladipo ($5,800) and Gabe Vincent ($4,100) should continue to see decent playing time.

In addition to those three, Anfernee Simons ($6,000) and Dennis Schroder ($5,900) are others grading out well in our projections.


Even all-time greats slump, including Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400). The problem for Giannis in daily fantasy is that the slump is affecting his role.

In the past four games, he's shot an abysmal 36.0% from the field with plenty of ugly bricks. His 38.1% usage rate has dropped to 33.6% in this time as he's leaning more on his teammates. He will bust out of this at some point, but he's not an automatic play at this salary if the role has decreased as such.

Jimmy Butler ($9,200) is pretty automatic. He averages 56.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes this year with both Lowry and Herro off the floor. He's grossly under-salaried. Max Strus is also projecting well, but I'll probably fade his scoring-centric output at this $5,500 salary.

In a repeat matchup, OG Anunoby ($6,900) is projecting well. I'd never fault anyone for attacking a full-time player against Charlotte's 115.1 defensive rating (fourth-worst in the NBA).

Kevin Durant's injury makes its largest impact here. I'd expect the Nets to run more offense through Ben Simmons ($6,700), who averages 35.6 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with K.D. off the floor. T.J. Warren ($4,900) should see a large uptick in work, and we know "Bubble M.J." can score in bunches with the right opportunity. Royce O'Neale ($5,100) could hoist a few more shots, too.

In addition to those three, Tim Hardaway Jr. ($5,300) and Troy Brown Jr. ($3,800) are near the top of the projections in the nightcap in terms of points per dollar. The returning Brown should see heavy minutes for an L.A. squad down Walker and Reaves.


Joel Embiid ($11,500) feels like an identical forecast to Nikola Jokic's yesterday. He'll bully OKC's frontcourt for as long as this game is close.

Down their best options to defend Embiid (Aleksej Pokusevski and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl), the Thunder cede the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to centers. Blowouts have staunched Embiid's overall production, but he's averaging 70.0 FanDuel points per 36 minutes this month. He's absurd.

I'll also spend at this spot with Pascal Siakam ($9,600) once again. Siakam posted 28 points, 8 boards, and 7 assists in this Charlotte matchup on Tuesday, but he didn't record any blocks or steals. He averages 1.31 combined blocks/steals per 36 minutes, which would push him over the edge of paying off this mark.

While the masses will look to Butler in some capacity, Bam Adebayo ($8,600) averages 47.9 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Lowry and Herro off the floor, too. I'll use both him and Butler alongside Giannis or Jrue when stacking that one.

Evan Mobley ($6,900) is more appealing if Jarrett Allen sits. He averages 39.6 FanDuel points per 36 with Allen off the floor, and the pass-first Rubio would place a few more opportunities in his hands than scorers Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland have for most of the season.

In addition to Mobley, Nicolas Claxton ($7,300), Jerami Grant ($7,000), and PJ Washington ($6,200) are currently showing value in our projections. Vehemently add Kevin Love ($4,900) to that list if Allen is confirmed out. If Allen plays, you'll need plenty of salary for the big-man spots today.